Tips for Flying with a Toddler

by Amanda Michael

1. Book a seat for your child if you can afford to. Most airlines will insist on this if the child is over 2 years. If you are planning to use a car seat for the flight, check, at the time of booking, that your car seat meets the airlines requirements.

2. If your child is a relatively good sleeper and your flight is likely to be more than 7 hours long, it may be worth considering a night flight (if this option is available).

3. At the time of booking, or as early as possible, reserve seats to ensure that you have 2 seats together, and that one of them is an aisle seat.

4. About 72 hours in advance of the flight phone and confirm your reservation, your seat numbers, and book your child's meals (children's meals are usually available, but must be booked in advance). During this phone call check whether or not you can board early (with the First Class passengers). Very often airlines allow this, and it provides an excellent opportunity to get yourself, your car seat, your child and your hand luggage settled in, before the mad rush starts.

5. When you check-in ask for a stroller 'tag'. This will allow you to take the stroller to the plane's door, and to collect it at the door the other end.

6. Really, really try to minimize your hand luggage - try to keep to a stroller, purse, very small child's rucksack for toys and a general food/changing bag.

7. Toys - try to take a few 'favourites' and possibly a couple of new toys, good examples include small magnetic drawing boards, crayons and a new coloring book as well as any thin, much-loved books.

8. Food - take small amounts of a variety of your toddler's favorite snacks, these can be used as bribery in the event of any potential tantrums.

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